Retail slump, property collapse and Ireland's dole queues lengthen as latest exchequer figures show a shortfall in tax revenue.

Opposition parties have launched a strong attack on the government following the publication of the latest exchequer figures. 

The government thought there would be tax shortfall of €6.5 billion in October's budget but the real figure was €8.1 billion with the government collecting thirteen per cent less revenue than expected. Added to this, government spending rose by ten per cent as a result of growing unemployment. In addition, the property collapse, slower car sales, a slump in retail and a stock market wipeout resulted in a massive fall in tax revenue. 

Some taxes are down by one quarter.

Labour Party Leader Eamon Gilmore TD described the lack of government leadership to deal with the crisis given 

The worst set of exchequer figures that we've ever seen. 

Mr Gilmore called for the Dáil to be recalled to deal with the crisis. 

Fine Gael Finance Spokesman Richard Bruton TD believes that the figures indicate that the budget projections for 2009 are built on false foundations and says that the government must go back to the drawing board. 

Minister for Arts, Sports and Tourism Martin Cullen TD defends the government's stance but acknowledges that the government will have to react to the publication of the figures in order to find a solution.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 5 January 2009. The reporter is David Murphy.